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Frontier Utilities Review: Limited Products Outside of Texas

Frontier Utilities is a gas and electric provider operating in four states with a handful of unique product offerings but doesn't have as much to offer as its competitors.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects. CNET's "Living off the Grid" series. https://www.cnet.com/feature/home/energy-and-utilities/living-off-the-grid/ Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
6 min read
Frontier Utilities logo on a person's cell phone
Frontier Utilities/James Martin

Frontier Utilities is a veteran energy supplier that offers rather standard electricity and natural gas service in a handful of states. The company's renewable energy options are pretty underwhelming, aside from performing rooftop solar installations and selling a plan that discounts overnight charging for EVs. 

When comparing Frontier Utilities to other energy retailers we've reviewed, the company is unique in that it has a solar panel installation arm and electricity plans designed to benefit electric vehicle users. However, these unique features are only available in Texas at this time. 

We did find some concerns with its online reputation, website functionality, and complicated plans that involve different rates per kilowatt-hour and account credits applied to monthly bills in amounts that vary depending on your energy usage. 

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Also be sure to check all plan descriptions and terms of service or electricity facts label for fees tied to cancellation, among other things. This is also where you should check to see if a deposit or credit check may be required in your market before signing up. 

Frontier Utilities and deregulation 

Frontier Utilities was started in 2008, then sold and relocated to Texas in 2012, where it has remained headquartered for over a decade. It supplies energy in select markets in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

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We'll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

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with our partner Choose Energy

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Energy suppliers like Frontier operate in certain states and markets in North America that have deregulated the industry. This means that energy producers like utilities agree to make that product available at a wholesale rate on a market where energy suppliers then buy and resell it to consumers at a retail rate. 

This all happens on a legal and contractual level. Utilities go on producing and delivering energy to customers within their geographical footprint. Within a deregulated market, all that's different is that customers have a choice as to who they pay for that energy and suppliers can compete for customers by offering better rates and incentives. 

Pros and cons of Frontier Utilities

Pros

Cons

  • Frontier has a well-reviewed and useful mobile app

  • Smart devices offered as incentives

  • Intriguing rooftop solar program

  • Discounted overnight rates for EV charging

  • Plans are confusing and complicated

  • Hidden fees for cancellation and other items in some markets

  • Deposit or passing a credit check may be required

  • Poor reputation online


What states does Frontier Utilities operate in?

Plan Type

Service Areas

Electricity plans

Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey

Natural gas plans

Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey

Renewable plans

None

Solar panels plans

Texas only

EV charging plans

Texas only

Frontier Utilities: Types of plans offered 

Fixed rate plans: Frontier's fixed rate plans offer electricity or natural gas service at a set rate per kilowatt hour or therm, respectively. This means energy rates don't fluctuate during periods of peak usage or month to month; customers pay the same price for a period of six to 24 months, depending on the plan. This can be a good option for customers looking for a stable, predictable rate or those who anticipate energy prices will go up over the contract period. 

Variable rate plans: Variable rate plans fluctuate with the market. Depending on conditions, they may offer better rates, particularly if rates go down. Frontier offers a variable rate plan in Texas only. On average, it costs more per kilowatt hour than the company's fixed-rate plans in the same markets but comes without the commitment of a set contract term. 

Bundled plans: Frontier doesn't combine natural gas and electricity service together into bundled plans. Some competitors, such as Constellation Energy, offer what's called a dual fuel discount program. 

Renewable energy plans: While Frontier may purchase a certain amount of energy from renewable sources, it does not market or sell any plans that are exclusively made up of 100% renewable power or fully offset usage with renewable energy certificates

Solar plans: Frontier Utilities also offers rooftop solar installations in Texas. This service isn't directly connected to the company's electricity plans, but it does offer a separate, 12-month fixed-rate electricity plan with bill credits for using its smart electric vehicle charging service.

EV charging plans: Free or discounted rates applied to EV charging during evening hours or a percentage of savings when charging an EV.

Frontier Utilities: Types of rates and plans available  

Plan type

Plan type description

Contract lengths

States available

Fixed rate plan

Fixed-rate plans have a set price per kilowatt-hour of monthly electricity consumption

6-month, 12-month, 24-month (not all plans available in all states)

NJ, OH, PA, TX

Variable rate plan

Rates per kilowatt-hour are based on the fluctuating energy market and can be unpredictable

Month-to-month

TX

EV charging plans

Free or discounted rates applied to EV charging 

24-months

TX

Natural gas plans (if applicable)

Plan type

Plan type description

Contract lengths

States available

Fixed rate plan

Fixed-rate plans have a set price per therm of monthly electricity consumption

6-month, 12-month

OH, PA, NJ

Variable rate plan

Rates per therm are based on the fluctuating energy market and can be unpredictable

None

None

Other services offered by Frontier Utilities

Rooftop solar 

In Texas, Frontier offers rooftop solar installation. Electric customers can also choose a program that monitors EV battery charge

Air conditioning tune-up

Free A/C servicing offered to some Texas customers

Why it's important to check the fine print

Before signing up for a plan or agreeing to any contract, be sure to actually read the details of what you're agreeing to. This is especially important when it comes to energy suppliers, as there may be significant fees involved in breaking or terminating such an agreement. 

Companies like Frontier are required to lay out the terms and conditions of each plan. It's usually pretty easy to find while reviewing your options and is listed under a link with a name like terms of service or electricity facts label. At a minimum, review the following contract details:

  • Average price per kWh
  • Electricity usage credits
  • Moving or transfer fees
  • Late payment fees
  • Renewal terms
  • Utility delivery charges
  • Potential usage penalty charges
  • Auto bill pay discount requirements
  • Contract duration
  • Contact information
  • Cancellation or early termination fees
  • Time of use rates or escalators
  • Utility delivery charges
  • Renewable energy percentage

Bottom line: Is Frontier Utilities a good choice?

The company has a limited product menu compared with its competitors but has a handful of unique offerings in some areas worth looking into. 

Frontier Utilities may be a good option for EV users who can take advantage of the discounted or free rates hours with their EV plans. The discounted EV charging plans are unique. But you may be able to find a better deal on energy if you can do the complicated math involved in assessing if the company's system of offering bill credits for different levels of usage offsets the different energy rates available. You also have to live in the right state to access the plan. 

The mobile app appears to be useful and is well-reviewed on both the Apple and Google play store, but we found the desktop website was clunky and confusing as we viewed plans across different states. 

Frontier appears to cater to Texas residents with its product offering leaving those in other deregulated states with limited options. When shopping around outside of Texas, you will likely find more options with this company's competitors. 

It's also worth noting that Frontier has a number of satisfied customers based on reviews online, but we're concerned by the Better Business Bureau's decision to revoke the company's accreditation in late 2022. 

According to the BBB, its status was changed due to a failure to "establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace" and "approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity, good faith and intent to do what is reasonably expected."

Dozens of complaints to the BBB in recent years center primarily on problems with billing. For Frontier's part, it appears to have made a good faith effort to rectify a number of the complaints against it submitted to the BBB in the past year. 

You can review the complaints for yourself, and if you still think Frontier might be the best option for your energy needs, be sure to ask your sales representative what the company is doing to repair its image and standing. 

How do I sign up for Frontier Utilities? 

You can enroll in a Frontier Utility plan by entering your ZIP code into the Choose Energy marketplace. Here you can shop and compare Frontier to other providers and plans available in your area. Choose Energy is a CNET partner site, which, like CNET, is owned by Red Ventures.